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Stories

Further On Sergeant Day G Turner, MOH

Further On Sergeant Day G Turner, MOH

 

In order to illustrate the battle conditions that precipitated Sergeant Turner being awarded the MOH and his later death, I have taken in part from my personal jouenal description of the action in which our units of the 1st Battalion, 319th Infantry, were involved.

 

I was an instrument corporal in a heavy machine gun platoon (Company “C”), supporting a companion company on the same extended line with Sergeant Turner’s Company “B”.

 

Starting January 6, 1945, our days on intense combat started another phase in the 80th’s efforts in the reduction of the Bulge.  We opened with an attack and capture of the village of Goesdorf, Luxembourg.  Company “B” supported by Company “D”, 1st Platoon attacked up a secondary road meeting heavy machine gun fire, while we charged up the main road into the center of the village.

 

With the village secured by 1300 hours, the battalion was ordered to advance and occupy a portion of the village of Dahl, that had been taken by our 3rd Battalion.

 

Taken in part from the “After Action Report” of the 319th Infantry:

“Dahl had been taken by the 3rd Battalion by 1400 hours and the 1st Battalion was ordered to move from Goesdorf to Dahl and relieve units already in established positions in defense in the north and northeast sectors of the town.”

 

 

“January 7th, the enemy launched a number of probing attacks, but withdrew after fierce encounters.   January 8th, at 0500 hours, the enemy delivered preparatory barrage lasting 45 minutes.  Under this cover an estimated battalion of infantry supported by tanks and other armor advanced to assault the position of Company “B”.  A withering crossfire from the tanks assisted the advance.  Despite the apparent overwhelming enemy forces, Company “B” delivered violent fire on the attacking elements.” 
 
“On the company’s right flank an estimated company forced an outpost to withdraw to a house which became a strong point in the defense.  Despite the constant reinforcement of the enemy, the men in the house with staunch determination retained their position.  They fought room-to-room and the enemy suffered heavy casualties.  Save for the squad leader, all the defenders were wounded—but enemy lost the initiative due to their own casualties.” 
 
“Due to the rolling terrain the enemy approached within 150 yards and posed a threat to the defense line.  Both sides rushed in reserves.  Company “B” committed its reserve platoon as the Germans repeatedly pushed into the weak point.  Company Headquarters section was rushed to the threatened flank and won new positions. (Company “C” and our 2nd Machine Gun Platoon was brought up behind Company “B” line and waited for commitment—which proved unnecessary.)” 
 
“Heavy attrition cost the enemy the attack and attempted to withdraw under smoke cover, but the wind dispersed the smoke screen and caused a disorderly rout.  Murderous artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire pursued the retreating enemy.” 
 
While I have no first knowledge of Sergeant Turner’s death, I can only relate my own experience occurring at the same time and the combat conditions that contributed to his death.  January 7th, at 0500 hours, we had 1st Battalion with Company “B” and “C” as the assault units.  We crossed the Our River under hazardous conditions—conditions aggravated by intense enemy artillery fire. 
 
Once across we had to cross 200 yards of open, plowed, muddy ground, and under intense heavy machine gun fire from the ridge top pillboxes, the mortars and artillery would soon begin. 
 
By 1000 hours the rifles had cleaned out part of the ridge top knocking out several pillboxes and bunkers.  Each pillbox had to be demolished or occupied because the enemy would try to reoccupy them later.  This required very close-in fighting because of interlocking fields of the pillbox fire and open trenches. 
 
I remember my platoon leader and I observing two of our machine guns poring torrents of red tracers directly into the gun ports of a pillbox from only 100 yards, keeping it buttoned while the rifles approached with satchel charges.  The next thing I knew the Lieutenant was standing up and blazing away with an M-1 at the same target.  This is the last I ever saw him!  He just disappeared from the line and he never returned—no explanation.
 
The satchel charges did the trick and we could finally get in, the whole insides were burned to a crisp—nobody survives two charges like that! 
 
This type of action was going on all across the ridge.Company “B”, Sergeant Turner’s outfit, and Company “C” were to be heavily involved with extremely intense conditions that would last for the next seven days, until a bridge was finally construction on February 14th. 
 
Source: Battle of the Bulge May 2001

By Cpl Vernon M. FRAZIER

Died March 7, 2011

"D" Company

319th Infantry Regiment

80th Infantry Division

Campaign 

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium